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The Mother


Volume 1

January 18, 1957

(Letter to Mother from Satprem)

Pondicherry, January 18, 1957

Sweet Mother,

The conflict that is tearing me apart is between this shadowy part of a past that does not want to die, and the new light. I wonder if, rather than escaping to some desert, it would not be wiser to resolve this conflict by objectify it, by writing this book I spoke to you about.

But I would like to know whether it is really useful for me to write this book, or whether it is not just some inferior task, a makeshift.

You told me one day that I could be “useful” to you. Then, by chance, I came across this passage from Sri Aurobindo the other day: “Everyone has in him something divine, something his own, a chance of perfection and strength in however small a sphere which God offers him to take or refuse.”

Could you tell me, as a favor, what this particular thing is in me which may be useful to you and serve you? If I could only know what my real work is in this world... All the conflicting impulses in me stem from my being like an unemployed force, like a being whose place has not yet been determined.

What do you see in me, Mother? Is it through writing that I shall achieve what is to be achieved – or does all this still belong to a nether world? But if so, then of what use am I? If I were good at something, it would give me some air to breathe.

Your child,

Signed: Bernard

in French

in German